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Demography of the Aegean

      Δημογραφία του Αιγαίου (5/3/2006 v.1) Demography of the Aegean (5/4/2006 v.1)
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Author(s) : Ierapetritis Dimitrios (6/27/2005)
Translation : Papadaki Irene (12/19/2006)

For citation: Ierapetritis Dimitrios, "Demography of the Aegean", 2006,
Cultural Portal of the Aegean Archipelago

URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=10499>

 
 

1. Introduction

The Aegean administratively comprises the regions of Northern and Southern Aegean, with the former consisting of the prefectures of Lesvos, Chios and Samos and the latter of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese. The total surface area of the Aegean islands is 9.122 square kilometres, covering 6,9% of the country’s total surface area. With 508.807 inhabitants, they represent merely 4,6% of the total population; this corresponds to 54,4 inhabitants per square kilometre, thus a much smaller rate than the respective figures at national level (83,1 inhabitants per square kilometre).

2. Demographic development

The demographic picture of the Aegean today is directly related to the demographic phenomena of the last 200 years, mainly because of the strong population transfer from and to the islands.

A study of the evolution taken place over the period from 1961 to 2001 shows an increase of 5,5%, which is not in proportion with that of the two regions. While the population in the South Aegean region has increased by 33,9% over the period from 1961 to 2001, a large decrease of more than 19% (19,4%) has been reported in the North Aegean Region. The Aegean population mean annual rate of change, during the same period, has increased by 1,7%, when the respective mean annual rate of change in the South Aegean area has increased by 8%, and in the North Aegean area it has decreased by 4,9%. During the 1991-2001 decade, there has been an increase in both regions, thus in the entire Aegean area (10,3%). The largest increase, of 17%, is reported in the South Aegean region, as opposed to the North Aegean region, where the population has increased merely by 1,9%.

3. Main demographic features

Because of the insular character of the Aegean area, its population is divided into several small population units, numbering a total of merely thirteen urban centres (cities whose population is over 10.000 inhabitants). The Aegean population, rural to a great extent (46,6% rural, 53,4% urban), shows significant disparitiesbetween the various regions and prefectures in the degree of urbanisation. More specifically, in the South Aegean region, 60,4% of the population is urban, while 39,6% is rural, when the corresponding figures in the North Aegean region are as high as 43,2% and 56,8% respectively. As far as specific areas are concerned, the prefecture of the Dodecanese is the one with the highest urban population rate (75,1%), while the prefecture of Samos that with the highest rural population rate (65,5%). The prefecture of the Dodecanese is the most densely populated, with 37,4% of the Aegean population, the most scarcely populated being the prefecture of Samos with merely 8,6%.

On the basis of the sex, the population of the Aegean is 51,7% men and 48,3% women. More specifically, the male population of the North Aegean region is 51,6% and the female population is 48,4%, while in the South Aegean region the male population is 51,8% and the female population is 48,2%. The available data on population per sex across the Aegean prefectures show that in Samos a higher rate of the population, namely 52,2%, is male whereas, in the prefecture of Chios, a higher rate, 48,9%, is female.

The demographic ageing of the Aegean population is expressed by the ageing index, which is lower (157,2) than the index at national level (170,1). However, the North Aegean region is essentially different from the South Aegean region in that it demonstrates a very high ageing index (223,7), while that of the South Aegean region is merely as high as 119,9. The above finding also follows from the analysis of the economically active age group (20-44) of the total population of the Aegean. The age group 20-44 constitutes 37,2% of the total population of the Aegean, when this figure in the North and South Aegean regions is as high as 34,3% and 39,1% respectively. This is further evidenced by the analysis of the replacement ratio, which for the total population of the Aegean is as high as 108,1.

The overall population index in the South Aegean region is satisfactory (124,4), as opposed to that of the North Aegean region, which is less than one (88,7), indicating a further ageing population in the North Aegean region. The dependency ratio of the total Aegean population shows that dependent people, namely those belonging to the age group 0-14 years and over 65 years old, are over the mean of the economically active population (dependency ratio: 50,1). Different conclusions can be drawn for the various Aegean regions, since the dependency ratio of the North Aegean region is way higher than the mean of the economically active population (D.R.: 56,3), while that of the South Aegean region is lower than the mean of the active population (46,2).

Over the 2002-2003 period, the increase in the number of births by mothers living in the Aegean was higher by 2,2% than the one registered at national level (0,8%). The diverging trends in the two Aegean regions are remarkable. In the South Aegean region, during the period from 2002-2003, the birth rate has increased by 4,3%, in contrast with the birth rate in the North Aegean region, where it has decreased by 1,9%.

The analysis of the rate of single, married and divorced people among the population does not show an essential diversification in the population data at national level. More specifically 50,28% of the Aegean population declare themselves married, 39,71% single and 2,27% divorced (49,91%, 39,66% and 2,46% respectively at national level). As far as the rate of the above mentioned family status categories in each region is concerned, it appears that the North Aegean region comprises the highest rate of married people (51,09%), while the South Aegean that of the divorced (2,48%). It is also interesting to notice the divorced men/women ratio, with the rate (2,8%) of divorced women among the Aegean population being lower than that at national level (3,15%), in contrast with divorced men, whose rate at national level is almost similar (Aegean: 1,76%, country: 1,77%).

As far as the education is concerned, the inhabitants of the Aegean are at the same level, according to the figures of the last population census (2001) of the National Statistical Service of Greece. PhD and master’s holders represent merely 0,1% and 0,3% respectively (at national level: 0,3% and 0,5% respectively), while university and Technical Educational Institute graduates represent 5,9% and 2,2% respectively (at national level: 8,3% and 2,2% respectively). The secondary education graduates (both Junior and Senior High School graduates) constitute 18,6%, when the figures at national level are as high as 22,34%. Illiterate people constitute 3,2% of the total Aegean population, with a 3,6% rate at national level. It should also be noted that those who left the Primary School, but know how to read and write constitute 6,8% (at national level: 6,26%), while Primary School graduates among the Aegean population constitute 35,4% (30,5% at national level). In each of the regions, the picture as far as education is concerned, is similar, with the exception of the Primary School graduates who, while in the North Aegean region they constitute 37,53% of the population, in the South Aegean region the rate is 33,97% (with 30,49% at national level). Differences are also recorded in the geography of illiterate people among the Aegean population; in the South Aegean region they comprise 3,51%, while in the North Aegean region the rate is 2,77%.

Registered immigrants (2001) who live in the Aegean islands number 37.823, representing 5% of the total number of immigrants living in the country. The search for work, the reunification of the family, the resettlement or repatriation, the access to education, the search for a shelter, the fleeing, are considered the main causes of migration. 78,8% belong to the age group 15-64, 17,3% are from 0 to14 and merely 4% are 65 or over. Urban areas accommodate 59,8% of the total number of immigrants living in the Aegean islands, while the remaining 40,2% is to be found in rural areas. Men constitute 51,9% of the total number of immigrants and women 48,1%. The majority of registered immigrants, namely 74,3%, live in the South Aegean region, while merely 25,7% live in the North Aegean region. Significant disparities are recorded concerning male immigrants in the two Aegean regions. More specifically, in the North Aegean region, the rate is as high as 55,4%, while in the South it is approximately 50,7%. Most registered immigrants come from Bulgaria.

In addition, there is a significant number of repatriated Greeks of the Diaspora, who come from the USA, Australia, Canada and Germany. Besides, the highest rates of repatriation are to be found in the Aegean area. More precisely, repatriated Greeks constitute 15% and 12% of the total number of immigrants in the North and South Aegean respectively.

4. Summary

The total population of the Aegean over the last forty years has increased by 5,5%, thus numbering, at the latest population census, 508.807 inhabitants and presenting a population density of 54,4 inhabitants per square kilometre. The demographic indicators of the total Aegean population are considered positive· equally important are, however, interregional disparities in the Aegean regions. More precisely, the North Aegean population is characterized by adverse ageing index and dependency ratio rates, in contrast with the population of the South Aegean region, where rates are higher than the average at national level. The replacement ratio rates (less than one, 88,7%) prove that a further population ageing in the North Aegean region is expected, in contrast with the South Aegean region, where the respective rate is above one (108,1%).

 

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